Ashwagandha: 9 Things You Should Know

Ashwagandha is a popular adaptogen supplement that can provide a variety of health benefits. It’s uses range from helping to decrease anxiety to lowering cholesterol. In this article, we’ll explore nine important things you should know about this powerful and versatile herb.

1. It has a long history of being used for medicinal purposes

Ashwagandha has been used since ancient times for healing purposes in India. According to the National Library of Medicine, it’s been used to treat stress and lack of energy for the last 3,000 years. It is known for its unique scent and the wide variety of its uses. The ashwagandha plant is a small bush with yellow flowers. However, it’s the roots and leaves that have been proven to contain healing properties. The following eight things you should know about this herb are some of the various ways ashwagandha can benefit your mind and body.

2. Can help reduce anxiety and stress

Ashwagandha is famous for its ability to reduce anxiety and lower stress levels. Research shows that this plant can regulate and block signals in the nervous system related to stress. It has been tested on patients with diagnosed anxiety disorders. 

3. May lessen effects of depression

Some studies have shown that adults who take a regular dose of ashwagandha experienced a lessening in symptoms of depression. These results are not confirmed due to only one of the participants having a history of severe depression, but future studies should provide more conclusive results.

4. Helps to increase muscle strength

Ashwagandha is named after a Sanskrit word related to horses. This is due to the fact that the herb has been known to help test subjects increase muscle mass and gain strength. When used in tandem with strength exercises, ashwagandha has allowed healthy men to gain significant muscle strength in just one month.

5. Can help to improve memory and brain function

Animal studies have shown that ashwagandha can have positive effects on brain function. It has helped to improve recall, reaction time, and focus. It has also been used to treat loss of memory due to epilepsy and brain injuries.

6. May lower cholesterol 

Ashwagandha is also heart-healthy due to its capacity to lower cholesterol levels. When used by adults with stress disorders and other chronic issues, ashwagandha has contributed to the decrease of surplus bad cholesterol in the blood.

7. Can inhibit growth of cancer cells

One of the most exciting properties of ashwagandha is its anti-cancer benefits. The plant contains a substance called withaferin that can slow the growth of cancer cells. In several animal studies, it disrupted the function of these cells and was used alongside cancer drugs to dramatically reduce tumor growth.

8. Can help reduce inflammation

One of the first purposes that people discovered for ashwagandha was as an anti-inflammatory. In studies with human subjects, it’s been proven to strengthen immunity and fight infection.  Most importantly, it’s been linked to reducing inflammation around the heart, lessening the likelihood of heart disease.

9. Readily available and safe for most people

The final thing you should know about ashwagandha is that it is relatively easy to find, purchase, and use. Ashwagandha supplements can be found in health food stores and bought from supplement retailers. Many distributors offer high-quality products online, so you shouldn’t have much trouble finding a brand you like within your price range. Consuming ashwagandha can be problematic for those who are pregnant, breastfeeding, or taking certain medications. Be sure to check with a medical professional or conduct your own research before introducing this supplement into your diet.